Wednesday, April 11, 2018

2017 Deer Hunting Estimates Reported

Photo by Art Kirsch, DEC Wildlife BiologistHunters in New York State killed an estimated 203,427 deer during the 2017-18 hunting seasons according to the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).

According to DEC’s report the 2017 estimated deer take included 95,623 antlerless deer and 107,804 antlered bucks, an estimated five percent fewer deer than the previous year. Statewide, this represents a 10-percent decline in antlerless harvest and a buck harvest nearly identical to 2016. Hunters in the Northern Zone took 25,351 deer, including 18,074 adult bucks. In the Southern Zone, hunters took 178,076 deer, including 89,730 adult bucks.

The decline in antlerless harvest occurred despite DEC issuing more antlerless permits last season. DEC wildlife biologists noted two statistics in particular:

53.3 percent of the adult buck averaged 2.5 years or older, hunters took an estimated 57,494 older bucks, setting a record in total number and greatest percentage of older bucks.

2017 deer hunting summarySecond, the portion of successful hunters who reported their harvest as required by state law increased from 44 percent in recent years to 50 percent in 2017.

Along with their Take It · Tag It · Report It campaign, DEC has made the process of harvest reporting easier for hunters with phone, internet, and mobile app options.

DEC’s 2017 Deer Harvest Summary report (PDF) provides a suite of tables, charts, and maps detailing the deer harvest around the state. Past harvest summaries are available here.

Notable Numbers

14.5 and 0.5 — number of deer taken per square mile in the unit with the highest (WMU 8N) and lowest (WMU 5F) harvest density.

46.7 percent — portion of the adult buck harvest that were yearlings (1.5 years old), the lowest in New York history and down from 62 percent a decade ago and 70 percent in the 1990s. Excluding units with mandatory antler restrictions, 50.9 percent of the adult buck harvest were yearlings, still the lowest percentage on record.

65 percent — portion of eligible junior hunters that participated in the 2016 Youth Deer Hunt.

14,372 — number of hunter harvested deer checked by DEC staff in 2017.

2,402 — deer tested for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in 2017-18; none tested positive. DEC has tested more than 50,000 deer for CWD since 2002.

Deer harvest data are gathered from two main sources: harvest reports required of all successful hunters and DEC’s examination of more than 14,000 harvested deer at check stations and meat processors. Statewide harvest estimates are made by cross-referencing these two data sources and calculating the total harvest from the reporting rate for each zone and tag type. A full report of the 2017-18 deer harvest, as well as past deer and bear harvest summaries, is available at the DEC wedbsite.

Photo of Whitetail Deer by Art Kirsch, DEC Wildlife Biologist.

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